By Vanessa Ekpereka (AGENDAWATCHDOG) – The right eye was closed. The worst of the beating was to come. So Billy Joe Saunders went out of the biggest fight he will ever have in his life on his stool, not his shield.
Canelo Alvarez thought he might also have fractured Saunders’ right cheek but he knew one thing for certain: ‘The way it was going I knew he wasn’t coming out again.’
Saunders stayed on his stool after the conclusion to the eighth round in which, blurred vision or not, it was as clear to him as to the record indoor crowd of 73,000 that this fight with the No 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world was going to end badly for him.
At the time that Saunders quit, he was still very much in the fight, and a victory wasn’t out of the question.
The judges had it for Canelo by the scores after eight rounds:
Alvarez was just barely ahead with a 77-75 score, and the outcome was still very much in doubt at the time Saunders called it quits.
Saunders fighting effectively, using his jab, right hand, and straight lefts to keep Canelo off balance. Billy Joe, 31, was giving Canelo a lot of headaches with his ability to keep him at a distance.
Canelo was landing two or three hard shots per round, but this wasn’t the same performance we’d seen from the Mexican star in his recent fights against Avni Yildirim, Callum Smith, and Sergey Kovalev. He didn’t look nearly as good tonight as he did back then.
This wasn’t the Saunders from eight years ago, as he looked slower, heavier, and not as light on his feet as he was when he defeated Chris Eubank Jr in 2014.
There’s no word whether Saunders will try and get a rematch with Canelo at a later date in 2022.
You would have to suspect that the injury will make a handy excuse for Saunders to use to justify a second fight with Canelo after he faces the last man standing Caleb Plant in September.